Helena hit send on an email to her team and smiled. For once more work was being completed than new projects were coming in.
She might actually leave on time today. If she did, she’d head home and pick up her husband Kevin and dog Cliff and go to dinner somewhere with a patio where Cliff could sit with them.
Her cell phone rang. As she answered, Kevin said, voice breaking, “Helena, something’s happened.”
This was bad. “What is it?”
“I came home at lunch to take Cliff on his walk. He went after the Petersons’ dog again. He got away from me. He was hit by a car.”
Helena closed her eyes. “Is he okay?”
“No.I brought him to the vet as fast as I could, but the vet is saying we need to put him to sleep.”
“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Helena said, standing and reaching for her purse.
It didn’t end there.
Two weeks later Helena came home to the empty house. As she flipped through the mail, an official-looking envelope caught her eye. Ripping it open, she pulled out the letter and read.
The owner of the car that had hit Cliff was suing her and Kevin for damage to his vehicle.
The Appropriate Collar Keeps You and Your Dog Safe
Hopefully, you’ve never experienced something this terrible. But you probably have had your dog slip free of his collar at the worst possible moment. And now you live like this:
- You’re embarrassed to be seen with your dog dragging you down the sidewalk, so you walk super early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid other people.
- If you see certain the man who just moved in, the stray gray cat, or the garbage cans out at the house four doors down, you just take your dog to the backyard instead of going for a walk because you know your dog will go crazy when he sees them.
- Your neighbors bring their own pets and even their children inside when they see you out with your dog.
- The woman down the street has threatened to call animal control if she sees your dog loose one more time.
The only way to truly fix the problem is to work with a dog trainer. However, using a properly-fitted collar will help keep you and your dog safe from escape during walks.
Is a Collar or Harness Better for Walking Your Dog?
Some say harnesses help train your dog not to pull. Others say harnesses encourage pulling and you need to use a collar. There are people who will never use a collar because they believe collars damage a dog’s trachea. And those who use collars may favor a wide band or a narrow one.
But it comes down to what is best for you and your dog. Some dogs walk better in a harness. Some in a collar. Some need something a little stronger. You may want to experiment with several different types of collars and harnesses to find what makes walking your dog easiest.
How to Fit a Collar or Harness to Your Dog
In most cases, the manufacturer has placed instructions for fitting your dog’s new collar or harness on the packaging. If not there, check their website. If you’re buying a new collar and able to bring your dog with you to the store, an employee should be able to help you with fitting.
Are you adjusting a collar or harness you already own? Generally, you should be able to fit one to two fingers between the material and your dog’s skin. Be sure your fingers are between the collar and skin – sometimes our fluffier companions can fool us with all of their fur!
Remember: you want the collar tight enough that your dog can’t pull the collar over her head. What you worry is too tight may be just right.
Our Top 3 Collars for Dogs who Pull
PetSafe Easy Walk Harness
The PetSafe Easy Walk Harness is great for dog owners who want to use a harness on their dog instead of a collar when walking. We prefer this one because you clip the leash to the front of the dog’s chest rather than on their back like you see in most harnesses.
A harness with a clip in the back was originally made for working dogs (think Siberian Huskies for sledding) to both train them to pull and allow them the most strength when pulling. Then this particular harness became a fashion statement but dog owners weren’t educated on the harness’s use. If you want to avoid your dog pulling while walking, the Easy Walk is the correct type of a harness to use.
If your dog sees something on a walk he wants to chase, he will find a way to get out of a regular buckle collar. We’ve even seen dogs loosen their collars while walking. We always prefer a no-slip collar (also called a martingale collar) when walking a dog. This way if a dog decides to pump the brakes and squeeze out of their collar, they won’t be in danger of getting loose. But, as soon as your dog stops pulling, the collar loosens.
Our favorite no-slip collar is the No! Slip Adjustable Collar by PetSafe. It’s adjustable to help you get the best fit and all nylon so it’s sturdy.
The idea of using a prong collar may intimidate you. We recommend this as a last resort for dogs who will not stop trying to pull away from you in anything else you’ve tried. The prong collar is built to communicate with dogs in a way they understand.
Prong collars do have their problems, though. Which is why we like the Titan Coastal Pet Easy-On Dog Training Collar with a Buckle. The buckle makes it easy to put on and take off your pet. Also, if your dog were to get loose with this collar on, your dog would be able to snap the buckle if she got stuck on something.
Choosing the Best Collar to Walk Your Dog
Walks are supposed to be a time for bonding with your dog. You can’t do that if you’re always worried your dog is going to pull away from you and get hurt or hurt someone else. Try our three suggestions. Let us know in the comments below if they work out!